Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Week Ending 05/20/19

Partnerships for Outreach in Navajoland

The Missionary District of Navajoland, which was formed from parts of 4 diocese in 4 states, and is generally contiguous with the Navajo reservation has underway a major project rehabilitating church properties so that they can better serve their communities.  A much-needed community health center is about to open in one.  Another is srving as a community center, and a third is being considered for a retreat center.  These projects have been helped by a long-term partner, the Diocese of West Texas.  Members from that team have come and done a number of work projects and also helped in planning.

Johnstown Parish Remembers 1889 Flood

St. Mark's Parish was hit especially hard in the May 31, 1889 flood that devastated Johnstown and killed more than 2000.  Nearly half of the parish membership, including the minister, his wife and two children were killed.  The church building and rectory were completely destroyed.  The parish, however, survived and rebuilt, and with the 130th anniversary of the flood fast approaching, set aside a Sunday to give special attention to the events. You can read more about the parish commemoration, and the original events here

Church Responds to Restrictive Abortion Laws

In the wake of the extreme anti-abortion law passed in Alabama, and the only slightly less severe ones passed in Georgia, Ohio, and Missouri, the Episcopal Church office of Governmental Relations has republished both the full 1967 General convention resolution, and subsequent statements on abortion and women's reproductive health.  In short the Episcopal Church has long declared that decisions about reproduction health should be made prayerfully by the woman in consultation with her doctor and should not be the subject of legislation.  For all the details, go here.

Arkansas Parish Creates Play About Death Row

St. Pauls' in Fayetteville Arkansa as a rpsion ministry.  After a listening project where parishioners listened to inmates on death row, these were shaped into a reader's theater style of drama and now they are taking their production, which is intended to show even death row inmates are humans.  The Episcopal Church has long taken a stand against the death penalty.  Two of the men were executed a few months taking part in the project. 

Pakistan Diocese Wins Case on Control of School

The Anglican Church's only college in Pakistan has won a court battle with local officials who wanted to assert control over the college.  The recent decision of the Pakistan Supreme Court has allowed the Diocese of Peshwar to fully reinstate the Governing Board of Edwardes College affiliated with the diocese to resume management of the college.  The Government of Peshwar had tried to convert it to a secular institution under control of the government. The Anglican Communion News Service has the details. Edwardes is the only Anglican school in Pakistan.

Continuing Stories

Heather Cook to Work with Prisoners and Addicts

As Update noted two weeks ago, the deposed suffragan bishop of Maryland, Heather Cook has secured release from prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a bicyclist in a DUI hit and run.  She will be on probation for the next 5 years.  She claims great remorse over her actions and has been working with addicts and women prisoners. The Baltimore Sun and Religion News both covered her release and her plans for what amounts to a lay ministry continuing her work in prison.

GAFCON Creates Diocese in New Zealand

 GAFCON has organized the handful of parishes which withdrew from the Province of New Zealand after the synod voted to allow same-sex blessings. After a scheme promoted by the Australian Archbishop of Sydney to create concurrent jurisdictions in New Zealand was rejected by leaders of the Province of New Zealand, GAFCON went ahead and created its own alternative diocese.  Anglican.ink covered the story as if the new diocese was a recognized part of the Anglican Communion.  It is not.

Diocesan Grants Fill Gap from Missing Hurricane Aid in Gulf Coast

 Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina all continue to struggle to rebuild after the category 5 Hurricane Michael devastated their areas last October.  Congress has not appropriated disaster relief for this and other recent natural disasters because Republicans have been trying to add funding for the border wall President Trump wants. A new bill, sans wall funds, is before Congress, but there is no guarantee that funds will be forthcoming.  As a result  The Diocese of the Central Coast has made grants to churches to help with relief and rebuilding.  Other dioceses are also fundraising.   There is more in the Episcopal News Service article.

ACNA Bishop's Statement on Arrival of a Bishop as Rector in Butler

Two weeks ago, Update carried a notice that St. Peter's Parish in Butler, an ACNA pairsh, had called as their new rector a bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church.  This week, Anglican.ink carried the response of ACNA Bishop Hobby to those events.

Vermont Adds Another Woman to List of New Bishops

The Diocese of Vermont elected its new bishop over the weekend.  It was one of the dioceses recently choosing from an all-female slate.  They chose Shannon McVean-Brown of the Diocese of Indianapolis, thus increasing not only the number of women in the "new bishops" list, but adding to the number of African-American women serving as bishop. Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows of Indianapolis was the first African American woman elected to be diocesan bishop.  She issued a gracious statement on the election of McVean-Brown, one of her clergy. 

English Methodists Inch Towards Approval of Same-Sex Marriage

In a reversal of the situation in the U.S. Methodists in England will vote on a statement that would open the door to church blessings of same-sex marriages, and possibly church weddings.  Both the U.S. and the Church of England are in conversation with the Methodists bodies in their bounds, but positions are reversed when it comes to same-sex issues. The effect may be the same - slowing down talks on full communion.   In the U.S., the United Methodist Synod vote to strengthen statements against LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage has raised questions about proposals for full communion between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodists, although the proposal seems headed for a vote in both groups.  In England, talks about union have been very slow, and there is speculation that the Methodist's proposed statement on same-sex matters will slow talks even more since the Church of England synod cannot find the votes needed to pass policies that would allow same-sex marriage and affirm clergy in same-sex relationships. The Independence of the English Methodists may provide a model for Methodists unhappy with the  recent anti-LGBTQ synod vote.